Understanding Why a Will is Important in Estate Planning

Questions explored in the The Westerly Sun article “Making a will is an important legal step,” may seem very basic, but many people don’t really understand how wills work and why they are such an important part of estate planning. Let’s go through these fundamentals about wills.

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document that provides specific instructions on how you want your estate to be handled after death. Wills must be prepared under very strict legal standards in order to be legally valid. 

What Can I Include in a Will?

A will can contain a variety of requests regarding your property, assets, tangible items, real estate, minor children, and more. 

Some examples of what that can be included in a will:

  • Who will inherit your home, properties, and possessions
  • Who will be guardian for minor children
  • Who will inherit your assets
  • Who will be executor of your estate upon death (the person who will be in executing your requests)

Upon death, all of the wishes stated in the will are to be followed by the executor during the probate process. If you do not have a will, the laws and courts will dictate what happens to your estate, typically through family members based on their degree of kinship to you.

Why Is It Important to Have a Will?

The purpose of a will is so that you can specify your wishes and directions on how your estate will be distributed after you pass away. With no will in place, you leave that decision up to the courts, who may end up distributing your estate to family members you may not have had good relationships with. The courts will also choose a guardian for your minor children, who can end up being someone you did not trust. 

Having a will is an important part of the estate planning process to help ensure that your loved ones are taken care of the way you intended to. A will also can minimize disputes when family members argue over who should inherit assets.

Customized Planning for Your Estate

Properly prepared by an experienced estate planning attorney, a will is a binding legal document that carries great significance. No one likes to think about dying, or becoming incapacitated, but by planning ahead, you can determine what you want to happen, and protect those you love.

We invite you to submit our online form to request a consultation with one of our Madison, Wisconsin, or Rockford, Illinois, area attorneys to discuss your estate planning goals and getting your important estate planning documents in place.

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